Was Jeremy Lin the Steal of Free Agency?


Now that free agency is for the most part behind us and everyone looking forward to the season, I would like to take some time to reflect on the off-season that was for the Charlotte Hornets, especially their free agent signing of Jeremy Lin

The Charlotte Hornets made many great moves during free agency and one of the most underrated moves they made was signing the 27-year-old Lin to a 2 year/$4M deal with a player option for the second year.

The signing of Lin has already been seen by almost every NBA fan as a steal but is it the steal of free agency?

Based on Jeremy’s skill and the amount of his contract, I would say that there is a strong argument that he was the steal of free agency. With all of the players signing huge contracts because of the big rise in the salary cap for every team next year it was surprising that the Hornets were able to sign Lin for only two million a year.

Now there are many reasons why the Hornets got Lin at such a discounted price. After a season where he was underutilized by a system and team that would not help him succeed with Byron Scott and the Los Angeles Lakers his stock was well below his actual value. Also there aren’t many teams that are searching for a starting point guard at the moment. Jeremy Lin wanted to prove that he has what it takes to start in this league and make big money. None of the offers that he got during this off-season must not have been to his liking so he took a short-term deal with Charlotte to showcase his ability this season so that he could get a better deal next year.

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But even with that being said, Lin’s deal is ver friendly to the Charlotte Hornets and will definitely help a team that is trying to build and make the playoffs consistently.

Last season Lin averaged 11.2 points per game and 4.6 assists last season and also per 36 minutes he averaged 15.7 points and 6.4 assists. These are some great numbers for a player who is only set to make two million next season. There are other players this past off-season that got way more money to be on the bench for the next few years.

C.J. Watson signed a three-year/$15M deal with the Orlando Magic this off-season and he only averaged 10 points per game and 3.6 assists per game last year. Lin easily outplayed him stat wise last season and Watson is getting $3M more a year.

Jameer Nelson signed a three-year/$13.5M deal with the Denver Nuggets and he is an aging player that only averaged 8.3 points per game and 3 assists per game last season so it is surpassing that he would get more money than Jeremy Lin.

Cory Joseph got a huge four-year/$30M deal to sign with the Toronto Raptors when he only averaged 6.8 points per game and 2.4 assists per game. I do understand that he is younger than Lin and may have more upside but his production is not there. Lin’s stats are easily better than his. Joseph has been a bench player his whole career and is getting $7.5M a year while Lin is a proven veteran that is only getting $2M for next season.

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Reggie Jackson just signed a staggering five-year/$80M deal with the Detroit Pistons as a player who averaged fewer points and assists per game than Lin did last year. While Jackson may have more upside than Lin, in terms of production, Lin has easily outplayed a player who is set to make $18M a year.

It is quite surprising once you look at the stats and see how good Jeremy Lin actually is and how he took a huge price cut to play in Charlotte as compared to other point guards around the league. Lin might have been able to get more money from other teams but he is likely looking to showcase his skill set this season with the Hornets and if everything pans out right then he should get a big deal next off-season as a starter for a team.

But in terms of the Charlotte Hornets and this year’s off-season the team cashed in with the signing of Jeremy Lin to only a $2M deal. For a team that is trying to build and constantly improve and compete for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference he was the perfect addition for scoring off the bench. In my opinion, Jeremy Lin was the steal of the off-season and free agency because of the production he offers to a competing team such as the Charlotte Hornets for the price that they were able to sign him for when his peers at the same position, with lesser production than Lin had last year, signed deals that were outrageous and way more than what Lin signed for.